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But, and in spite of this triumph, she killed herself in 1981 by throwing herself off a building in New York at the age of 22.
This documentary exploring her brief life and that brilliant work is basically a series of interviews with her parents and brother (all of whom are artists as well), and a few of her friends, juxtaposed with her pictures, some black and white footage she shot of herself making art, and excerpts from her journals. It's fascinating, very well done.
As a survivor of suicide myself, as someone who has had to struggle with someone I love taking himself so violently from us, from those who loved him, I feel great sympathy with her survivors. And while I also sympathize with Francesca, who was an extremely sensitive girl suffering from clinical depression when she died, I have no sympathy with her final act. On that level her story is infuriating. A child of such privilege and talent, but so narcissistic and with such a sense of entitlement. Her journal entries are too much to take, really. Such adolescent self absorption, filtered through her years at Philips Andover and in Italy, and then RISD; where she clearly got immersed in the likes of Sylvia Plath and Virginia Woolf, seeing as how well she took on that same high romantic angst ridden nihilistic "artist's" schtick that they perfected before her.Read more ›
This documentary explores the family of The Woodmans, which is the parents, Betty and George and their children, Charlie and Francesca. This family is all about art and nothing else. The documentary seems at first to focus on Francesca who grew to great celebrity, especially in the past decade, for her unique and passionate photography in the 60's and 70's. It was, unfortunately, not until after her suicide that her art began to take notice.
We listen to her friends and family talk of Francesca and the passion, inspiration and persistence of her work through photography, which at the time was still young in its idea of art. Looking at her works now, they do appear to be quite modern and has since influenced many photographers. But while alive, Francesca was thought of as fragile, alone, sad, desperate, needy or curious. She did not seem to have many friends, but at the same time her world seemed small. She had written in her diaries that she liked her photos to be small to create the intimacy between the viewer and the picture.
In retrospect, however, the parents, from the way they described their upbringing of Francesca, was as if she was in the way of their ideals. They said they were not interested in having kids and it was as if they were an accident. In their travels, such as to Italy, she was sent off with some guide so the parents can experience the artistic world without nagging kids around. Francesca, at least, seemed focused enough at her young age to immerse herself in the world of art (perhaps learning from her parents).Read more ›
This beautifully photographed film introduces you to artist George Woodman, his wife Betty who is famous for her work in pottery and clay. Son Charles is involved in multi-media art.
The story begins in Colorado where the Woodman's lived and worked. George, a WASP, married Betty, who is Jewish. He says his family did not approve. They probably wouldn't have approved of him marrying a Catholic, either. This was 60 or so years ago. Obviously, this marriage worked on many levels. In the film Betty declares she could not love any man who did not create art. They move to NYC in the early 80s and buy a rustic country house in Italy, too. These are not struggling artists, and appear never to have been.
Betty and George spend all day and every waking moment making art and thinking about art. "Very needy," is how Francesca is described by everyone in the film. Of course she was. She was on the lowest rung on the Totem pole in her artistic family. First George, then Betty, then Charlie and then Francesca. She goes off to art school back East and her father gives her one of his old cameras. She finds her voice and purpose in life.
She becomes her parents. She becomes obsessed with taking photographs. Composing them in her mind, her eyes, and then, in reality. She is the focal point in virtually all of them. She takes thousands of frames of nudes of herself in various poses and places. She speaks in a little girl voice on tape.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great documentary! It shows a wonderful insight into the family dynamic and the viewer can get a feel for what Francesca must have been like. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Lastchild13
This is an intriguing film --- one can enjoy it on several levels. One can enjoy the art that's shown, and the art-making processes. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Green Stone
Francesca Woodman was an amazing talent. I don't care about her parents. In fact after watching this I completely dislike her parents. Read morePublished 15 months ago by IndieLover
It's the megalomania and competitive greed that emanate from the parents after Francesca's death. Even deceased later, George, the father, says bitterly after seeing the popularity... Read morePublished 15 months ago by Yours Truly
The work ethic. I love the artist's work ethic described by Francesca's Mother. I own this movie on DVD and watch it to remind myself of the preciousness in our creative drive. Read morePublished 15 months ago by blacklily.bobro
I struggle mightily to conjure an image of a family more egotistic and self-centered than The Woodmans. Read morePublished 16 months ago by MoxyMallard
This dvd really brings out how some artists walk a fine line between genius and mental illness. She was so innovative for her time.Published 20 months ago by Denise Havlan